Youth & Government Program Expands to New Locations

YMCA Youth and Government Program helps teenagers develop into strong citizens.

The YMCA of Greater Brandywine, an association of eight YMCAs across Chester County, is expanding its Youth and Government program this fall. The Youth and Government program helps young people in grades seven through twelve develop into strong citizens, who are both knowledgeable and active in determining the future of our democracy. Students learn about the democratic system, while being trained in parliamentary procedure, legislative committee process, debate, press relations and lobbying techniques.

During the program, teens discuss and debate issues that affect citizens of their state and propose possible legislation to make government more efficient. Students then craft their own bills and serve as student delegates at the annual Youth and Government Model Convention, where they debate their bills on the floor of the State Capitol in Harrisburg. Last year, students in the program wrote bills on mandating medical kits, providing nutritional information in school lunches to assist students with allergies and even changing the state flower!

“These students really learn how our government works and what it takes to turn an idea into a bill, then, ultimately, a law,” says Brandywine YMCA Executive Director LaKeisha Harris.

The program runs from October through April. Students and a mentor meet after school at their local YMCA branch a couple of times a week to debate, discuss and learn how to write and introduce a bill into government. The program has been running at the Brandywine YMCA for the last two years with much success. Four branches are adding it this year Lionville Community YMCA, Oscar Lasko YMCA and West Chester Area YMCA, in order to satisfy a growing thirst for knowledge regarding our government among our youth in Chester County.

Each program is limited to 12 students. Registration and a Model Conference fee is required. Financial assistance is available.

For more information, please contact your desired branch:

Brandywine YMCA - Chris Hutelmyer at

Lionville Community YMCA - Steph Bewley at

Oscar Lasko YMCA & Childcare Center - Chris Hutelmyer at

West Chester Area YMCA - Mark Hoy at

Category: Kids & Teens